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‘Arrow’ Review: “Dodger”

Arrow Review Dodger
The CW

Arrow’ lets loose another episode with its fifteenth outing of the series “Dodger,” as Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) goes up against the latest criminal making his way through Starling City (‘Battlestar Galactica‘s James Callis), while Thea tracks down the troubled young Roy Harper (‘Teen Wolf‘s Colton Haynes) after the youth steals her purse.

Last week’s ‘Arrow’ episode “The Odyssey” saw Oliver grievously wounded and in need of Felicity Smoak (newly-minted series regular Emily Bett Rickards)’s help, while flashing back to his time on the island training with Slade Wilson (‘Spartacus‘ Manu Bennett) for a deadly mission to overtake an airstrip.  So, what does the fifteenth episode of ‘Arrow’ bring?  Does it hit the same bulls-eye as the first 14 episodes?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Arrow’s latest episode, “Dodger!”

Midday at a museum, a nervous guard leads his partner to the Sherwood gem, claiming their superior asked them to move it. Both unlocking the case, the nervous man knocks out his partner and swipes the jewel, misdirecting the other guards on his way out. He hands the gem to a well-dressed man known as the Dodger (Callis), who in return unlocks an explosive collar around the man’s neck, before rendering him unconscious with a taser!

Elsewhere, Oliver prepares to go after another name on his list, embezzler Ken Williams, though Felicity objects given the man has a ten year-old son. Oliver insists he only plans to give the man a warning, but Felicity believes he could put his crusade to better use, and resigns her brief involvement with the team. Meanwhile back in Oliver’s island past, Slade’s wound becomes gruesomely infected, and Oliver resolves to retrieve the stash of herbs from Yao Fei’s old cave.

Returning to the present, Moira meets with fellow “Undertaking” partner Frank (‘The Dark Knight’s Chin Han!), expressing a desire to get out of the project as her husband once wished. Frank reminds her Robert’s waffling was what led to his death in the first place, but Moira urges him to remember how they once planned to help the struggling city, rather than the current “undertaking”s destructive potential.

Oliver and Diggle wait in Felicity’s office hoping to change the woman’s mind, as the playboy apologizes for his harsh words the previous night. As reports of the Dodger arrive over the news, Felicity proposes that Oliver make good on his word by going after someone not on the list, namely the Dodger. Elsewhere, the Dodger himself meets with potential buyers at an art gallery, but when the buyer attempts to double-cross him, the Dodger tases his thugs, and shoots the buyer dead for his betrayal.

Oliver, Felicity and Diggle attempt to figure out their next move over Big Belly Burger, as Felicity notices that Diggle’s sister-in-law Callie has interest in him. Diggle agrees to finally ask her out so long as Oliver lives up to the same challenge with McKenna Hall (‘True Blood‘s Janina Gavankar), especially after Felicity reasons they can place a bug in the detective’s cell phone along the way. Across the way, Callie eagerly accepts Diggle’s invitation out.

Elsewhere in the Glades, Thea and Laurel bond over hot dogs and stories of the CNRI, when out of nowhere a red-hooded purse snatcher grabs Thea’s bag. The pair chase the thief to a fence, which he acrobatically manages to leap over, albeit in the process leaving behind part of his wallet chain. Come on, who even wears those anymore?

Over at the SCPD, Oliver nervously asks McKenna out, placing the bug on her phone when she steps away for a moment. Later, the group listens as McKenna receives a call about the Dodger’s victim, and devise a plan to catch the villain by finding his next buyer. The ordeal launches him into yet another island memory, as he enters Yao Fei’s cave and retrieves the herbs, only to find a roughed up and bound young man around the corner begging for his help.

Oliver prepares for his date as Thea calls various vintage clothes stores hoping to find someone that matches the thief’s description, eventually landing on Roy Harper. Given his address, Thea calls Laurel and asks a favor from her father. Elsewhere, Diggle and Callie enjoy their date, but things quickly sour when Diggle finds himself incapable of not focusing on his late brother.

Meanwhile, Oliver enjoys his own date with McKenna, but finds himself equally closed off and unwilling to talk about his island experiences. A call from SCPD with a tip about the Dodger’s next meet takes McKenna away, as Oliver has Felicity patch him into the location. Remembering back, the younger Oliver listens as the bound man in the cave pleads his identity as a shipwrecked student attacked by soldiers, but Oliver isn’t sure what to believe.

The Dodger attempts to fence the gem at another locale, but the meet is quickly broken up by the appearance of the SCPD. The villain manages to escape out the back of the warehouse before being stopped by Arrow, though one of the Dodger’s explosive charges allows him just enough time to escape. Later on, Oliver and Diggle sheepishly shrug off their dates around Felicity, as the trio reasons they can attract the Dodger on their own by loaning his preferred type of antiquities to an upcoming cancer benefit.

Down at the SCPD, Thea watches through the glass as Quentin interrogates Roy Harper, but agrees to drop the charges once she falls for Roy’s sob story about stealing to benefit his Vertigo-ravaged mother. Meanwhile back at the mansion, Frank Chen tells Moira he’s arranged a meet with someone who can help her, but that they’re all damned for their involvement in the “undertaking” regardless.

Olvier and Diggle meet with a glammed-up Felicity at the cancer benefit, having placed a tracker on the jewel loaned to the event. Felicity soon sees that the jewel has indeed begun moving, but after confronting the Dodger, Felicity finds herself armed with one of the bomb collars! Oliver races off to catch the Dodger, stealing a man’s motorcycle while Diggle remains behind and attempts to examine the collar. Observing traffic cams from her tablet, Felicity helps Oliver track down the Dodger, engaging in a high speed chase across the city.

After blowing out the wheel of his car, Oliver confronts an injured Dodger, who threatens him with the bomb collar around Felicity’s neck. The Dodger questions why the vigilante would condemn him for stealing from the rich, but Oliver throws an arrow into his arm, severing a nerve as he reminds the criminal he isn’t Robin Hood. Five years in the past, Oliver goes to untie the bound student, but hesitates at the last minute out of distrust, and leaves the screaming man in the cave.

As Diggle makes up with Callie, Thea pays a visit to Roy Harper asking for her purse back. Both size one another up from Roy’s files and Thea’s tabloid antics, each pressing that neither really know the other’s true selves. Roy reluctantly returns the purse, urging Thea not to fall for sob stories like his in the future. Elsewhere, Oliver apologizes to McKenna at the station and earns a kiss of his own, before Quentin interrupts them, and assigns McKenna to help catch the vigilante.

Finally, Moira meets with Frank Chen’s contact China White (Kelly Hu), and tasks her with killing Malcolm Merlyn!

‘Arrow’ put itself in something of a difficult position recently, as last week’s largely island-centric “The Odyssey” proved to be one of the better episodes of the series. “Dodger” returns to the usual ‘Arrow’ format of a more timely story undercut with smaller island flashbacks, but thankfully doesn’t dip all too much in quality. As per usual, the villain of the week feels somewhat undercooked, and a few logic gaps spring up here and there, but the Dodger largely serves to bring Felicity a bit more into the fold, and test Oliver’s issues of trust. Elsewhere, we appreciate the narrative giving Thea something to do by introducing her to Roy Harper before Oliver even if relatively little comes of the first encounter. Not to mention, the brief Robin Hood references and casting Chin Han as a tip of the hat to ‘Arrow’s ‘Dark Knight’ origins give the episode a bit of twinkle it might otherwise lack.

What say you?  Did you feel that ‘Arrow’ hit the mark with its fifteenth episode?  What did you like about “Dodger?” Join us next week for another all-new ‘Arrow’ episode recap of “Dead to Rights” on The CW!

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